Exploring the Risks of Financial Bubbles and Quantitative Easing: An Interview with Tim

Summary: Contact Tim to learn about the inspiration behind his white paper, "Are We in Another Financial Bubble?" Explore Tim's research on the Federal Reserve's Quantitative Easing and the potential risks it poses to the economy. Discover Tim's insights on paying executives in stock and preventing future financial bubbles.

The most dominant financial story after the financial crisis has been the Federal Reserve and their unconventional monetary stimulus, Quantitative Easing or QE.

There was a letter written to the Wall Street Journal by 24 prominent economists, writers, and hedge fund managers warning about QE and inflation (11/15/2010).

One interesting thing about my research was that the people who thought QE would cause inflation were wrong for the same reason. They believed in the so-called money multiplier that the reserves created by the Fed through QE would be multiplied into loans; however, that is not how modern banking works.

Read more: Are We in Another Financial Bubble?

I think our current financial and banking system encourages bubbles. If you look at CAPE, Q Ratio, or market cap/GDP, even with the coronavirus and this incredibly high unemployment rate, they are all flashing that the stock market is at very high levels.

Some say QE is just a swap or that commercial banks are just exchanging one government asset treasury for another central bank reserve.

Maybe at the start, but the program has morphed. Now, the Federal Reserve is buying mortgage-backed bonds, government bonds, and in response to the pandemic, corporate bonds from pension funds, mutual funds, hedge funds, etc. The seller receives a bank deposit and the liability of the commercial bank offset by reserves provided by the central bank.

After the onset of the virus, the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet went from \$4.2 trillion to around \$7 trillion. During that time, the money supply went from approximately $15.5 trillion to around $18.5 trillion. So, about $3 trillion in new bank deposits was created in four months.

I think the idea of paying executives in stock came from academia. Align the interest of the executives and shareholders. But it, too, has morphed into something that is unhealthy. Companies now spend a large percentage of their cash buying existing financial assets. Executives have an enormous conflict of interest because their pay packages are consistent with short-term stock performance, not long-term performance. If a company buys back its stock, the benefits are immediate, but if a company invests in its plant and equipment, the benefits, if there are any, will be seen years later when the current executives will be gone.

We should change the way new money is created or regulate how new money gets introduced into our economy. New money is money that is introduced into the marketplace without reducing someone’s bank account. It creates purchasing power, and our economy is impacted by where it goes. It went to housing in the last cycle, with disastrous results; today, it is going to financial assets like stocks and high-yield bonds. Commercial banks used to create most new money through lending, and because they create it out of thin air, they like to lend against collateral. That way, if the loan goes bad, the bank has an asset to sell. Today, more and more money is added to the economy by the central bank (the Federal Reserve) through QE when they buy assets from nonbanks.

I wrote it for a wider audience than just my clients. I think people who read it will better understand how our financial system now works and how we went from a banking collapse to the stock market tripling while wages stagnate. Moreover, they will see how the economy lurches from one bubble to the next.

Understanding how our banking and financial system works. Without this understanding, financial advisors walk around in the dark without a flashlight.

These are the opinions of Tim Hayes and not necessarily those of Cambridge, are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed or acted upon as individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investing involves risk. Depending on the types of investments, there may be varying degrees of risk. Investors should be prepared to bear loss, including total loss of principal.

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Financial Advisor Tim Hayes

I’ve held an industry securities registration for 30+ years and am subject to SEC and FINRA oversight.

Most clients pay fee-only or an hourly rate. The size and complexity of the client’s wealth management and financial and retirement planning determine that fee.

Some clients pay a commission, mainly those with smaller accounts, i.e., Roth IRAs, some public-school teachers with 403b retirement accounts, or parents or grandparents who set up a 529 college savings plan.

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Subsequent meetings during which we monitor your progress and investments can be done in-person or by phone, email, Zoom, or Skype – or, more likely, a combination of these meeting types.

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Tim has offices in Boston and South Dartmouth, Massachusetts. He’s licensed to handle securities in 8 states: Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maine, and Florida.

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